I'll return to my Kingdom musings soon, but thought I'd leave some links that I found both interesting and encouraging. Readers of my book, It Takes a Church to Raise A Christian know that I have profound admiration and at times some genuine ambivalence about megachurches and the pastors who have built them. While I am sometimes dubious about the amount of genuine life-transformation that comes in such a setting, it may be ironically that the vision and confidence for world-transformation is best nurtured through the experience of being part of seeing God grow a "mega-church" out of nothing.
Further, because of my commitment to seeing our church be part of God's work and leading in Africa, through our Y-Malawi Partnership, I am completely without ambivalence when I pray for what God is doing through Rick Warren's PEACE plan. I encourage you to check out this and this from CT online and have posted one of my favorite passages.
In 2003, Bruce Wilkinson, The Prayer of Jabez author now ministering in Johannesburg, South Africa, invited the Warrens to help lead an HIV/AIDS conference with his own wife, Darlene. The Warrens agreed to go. He led a Purpose Driven conference for 90,000 African pastors, using digital satellite downlinks.
After it was over, Warren said to his hosts, "Take me out to a village. I want to meet some pastors." They took him to Tembisa, a huge and desperately poor township outside Johannesburg. Local evangelists there often plant new congregations, using large blue-and-white striped tents. In many instances, homeless widows and orphans live in the tent during the week and also worship there on Sundays.
When Warren arrived, the tent church pastor boldly walked up to him, saying, "I know who you are. You're Pastor Rick."
"How in the world do you know who I am!" Warren exclaimed.
"I get your sermons every week."
The pastor told Warren that once a week he walks 90 minutes to a post office with an internet connection. He downloads Warren's sermons from Pastors.com and preaches them on Sundays.
"You are the only training I have ever had."
Cut to the heart, Warren says, "I burst into tears. I thought, I will give the rest of my life for guys like that—the real heroes out in the bush." That night, Warren sat under the African sky and prayed, "God, what are the other problems that you want to tackle?"